Where Leading Fashion Retailers are Driving Traffic Black Friday

By Donna Fulmer, Market Research Manager

Some early reports have indicated that while online shopping is soaring today, traffic at malls is a little lighter than retailers may like. I can attest that my husband - somewhat begrudgingly - got up early on his day off to drive our daughter to her retail job by 5:45 a.m. so she didn't have to fight the traffic and waste time looking for parking - only to find that traffic was light and the parking lot was only a quarter full.

Looking at today's inbox of emails from leading fashion retailers, it seems the light foot traffic may have been anticipated. It will be interesting to see if the efforts seen in these emails help to turn the day around for brick and mortar stores:

Granted, I had to scroll to the bottom of this Forever 21 email, but this is a pretty generous in-store only promotion -

What came earlier this morning from Forever 21, however, was a much stronger push - 

And while this J.Crew email does not promote an in-store only event, it's obvious they want to make it's very easy for me to find my nearest store -

Gap, too, is trying to drive traffic in-store, however, it's unfortunately again at the bottom of a long, scrolling email and  less obvious than the Forever 21 promotion - 

(It's worth noting that of course all of the other emails I have received from fashion omnichannel retailers have clearly communicated that Black Friday deals apply both on-line and in-store.) 

So what about pureplay retailers? Even online only merchants must know that the traditional website is not the only place their customer may want to shop today. Kudos to YOOX.com for this effort to capture shoppers wherever or however they may want to take part in Black Friday deals today: 

How are you driving shoppers to your brick and mortar stores today? 

Cross-Channel Holiday Promotions

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

It's that time of year again. Mailboxes are stuffed full of holiday catalogs and direct mail pieces. When I was a kid, I loved looking through the Christmas catalogs, circling all of the toys I wanted Santa to bring me. But now I rarely even open them before putting them in the trash. The good news is, I don't have to open them. Many retailers are offering customers additional opportunities to engage and shop right from the back of the catalogs.

Toms offers both a QR code and an incentive to shop online:

Bath and Body Works offers both online and in-store discount codes:

Athleta invites customers into their stores by offering fitness classes, free hemming and styling and BOPIS:

Cremieux invited customers in-store for a happy hour:

giggle advertised their website, stores and shopping apps:

And Chukar Cherries sent me an order form that included the names and addresses of the people I shipped gift baskets to last holiday season. Talk about convenient!

Customers don't shop in a single channel and it's up to the retailers to provide different shopping options and to make the transition seamless.

Speaking of options, I received these two emails recently and they really caught my attention.

Philosophy encourages customers to shop on TV during its QVC broadcast:

And giggle sent a Mobile Monday email offering a discount for customers shopping in its app:

As you can see, there isn't one right way to encourage customers to shop. All you  have to do is provide options and let your customers shop in the channel that is most convenient for them this holiday season.

Let’s Get Phigital: The State of In-Store Technology

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn. This is the first in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City.

1 City, 2 Days, 16 people, 32 Stores.

I spent the last two days living out every fashion and retail-lovers dream...shopping in New York City. I went on this shopping trip with 15 Listrak colleagues, including members of our executive team, account managers, developers and other marketing team members. Our goal was to try out the technology and in-store experiences many flagship stores are beginning to offer in order to gain first-hand knowledge.

The technology we saw included magic mirrors, holograms, virtual reality, iBeacons, touchscreens – and there was even robotic luggage storage in our hotel.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more details of our trip and go more in-depth on the retailers we visited and the experiences we had, but I wanted to share some of our best and most exciting findings now.

Magic Mirrors
If you haven’t seen the awesomeness of a magic mirror yet, plan a trip to Polo Ralph Lauren on 5th Ave or the Rebecca Minkoff store in Soho immediately! This is truly the future of retail as they not only enhanced the shopping experience by making it both faster and easier for shoppers to find what they want and checkout but it ties in both mobile and email acquisition points as well. I wanted to note that the staff in both stores was exceptional. It seems that the mirrors give the employees the opportunity to really interact with the customers on a more personal level.

Another useful shopping tool available in many of the stores were touchscreens and iPads that let you explore merchandise, read product reviews and interact digitally. The best ones included a call-to-action to let the shopper sign up for text or email messages. New Balance had two different digital experiences. The first let shoppers customize their own sneakers:

And the second scanned the customer’s feet in order to help them find the best fitting sneakers while allowing customers to email themselves the results. 

Warby Parker has its famous photo booth in store, which provided a lot of fun for the shoppers as well as an acquisition point for the retailer. But that wasn’t the only camera we experienced. Sephora took a photo and then emailed directions on the best way to apply contouring makeup:

And Lego added a cool hologram to the screen when you held up a product in front of it. The hologram was animated and provided a lot fun for the shoppers, but it lacked an acquisition point or additional product information. It was strictly for fun and it really did enhance the shopping experience!

Mobile Integration
We made sure to download each retailer’s app before our shopping trip and the outcome was mixed as connectivity was an issue. One outstanding example was Urban Outfitters where we received a push notification as we were checking out their vinyl.

However, in many cases we tried scanning merchandise to learn more about the products just to be told the products weren’t in stock or we’d just be taken to the product page of the retailer’s site.

Key Takeaways
Retailers, don’t add technology just for the sake of technology. If it doesn’t enhance the shopping experience, don’t bother. Technology that takes away from a buyer’s experience is worthless. However, technology that helps customers connect with you in new ways while helping them explore new products and leading to a faster checkout is definitely worth the investment.

Also, the shopper journey is all about engaging customers in multiple channels and making the experience seamless as shoppers move from the store to your site to their email or mobile device. The channels should not only support each other - think using email to drive traffic to your stores or acquiring email subscribers and mobile numbers in store - but they should all work together to help the customer find and purchase merchandise no matter where they're shopping.

We'll cover this in more detail as the series continues, but let us know if you have any specific questions in the comment section.